EU mulls Johnson's reluctant Brexit delay request

  • In World
  • 2019-10-20 05:12:45Z
  • By AFP

London (AFP) - EU leaders were on Sunday considering a request by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to delay Britain's departure from the bloc, which he was forced to make after MPs refused to back his Brexit deal.

Johnson has pinned his premiership on getting Britain out of the European Union on October 31, more than three years after the 2016 referendum vote for Brexit.

But the House of Commons on Saturday refused to support a divorce deal he struck with Brussels last week, triggering a law demanding he ask to delay Brexit to avoid the risk of a damaging "no deal" exit.

The Conservative leader duly sent a letter to European Council President Donald Tusk late Saturday asking for the required three-month delay -- but did not sign it.

He sent a second letter -- signed -- warning that "a further extension would damage the interests of the UK and our EU partners".

A defiant Johnson had earlier told MPs: "I will not negotiate a delay with the EU."

Tusk said he would begin consulting EU leaders "on how to react" -- a process one diplomat said could take a few days.

Johnson has already spoken to the leaders of France, Germany and the Netherlands to press his case -- and Paris warned Saturday that a Brexit delay was "in nobody's interest".

- Votes loom next week -

In the meantime, Johnson will bring forward legislation that he hopes would nevertheless allow Brexit on October 31.

MPs voted to withhold approval for his divorce deal unless and until the legislation required to ratify the treaty is passed through parliament.

The government is seeking a new vote on its deal on Monday, although this may fall foul of parliamentary procedure.

If it introduces the treaty implementation bill on Monday, however, MPs could be called to vote as early as Tuesday.

Johnson wrote to Tusk that he was "confident" he could get it through before the of the month.

However, the main opposition Labour Party has condemned the deal as a "sell-out", while Johnson's Northern Irish allies are opposed to its arrangements for the province.

- 'House of Fools' -

Johnson sent the letter to Brussels after a day of high drama in the Commons, which staged its first Saturday sitting in 37 years to debate his Brexit deal.

He urged MPs to end years of uncertainty that has weighed on the economy and divided the nation -- but they refused, warning his deal would leave Britain worse off.

"Why won't they let us leave?" lamented the Brexit-backing Sunday Express newspaper.

The Mail on Sunday led with the headline "The House of Fools", warning MPs had "subjected us to yet more agonising delay".

The Brexit date has already been pushed back twice, to the fury of those who wanted to chart their own course and abandon the European project after nearly 50 years.

But there was also jubilation at the vote among tens of thousands of protesters who gathered outside parliament on Saturday to demand a new referendum to reverse Brexit.

"That's really good, that's one step away from Brexit," demonstrator Philip Dobson told AFP.

"Reject Brexit", "Put It To The People" and "Stop This Madness" read some of the placards at the mass march, where many protesters also waved EU flags.

- No deal fears -

Johnson took office in July vowing to leave the EU on October 31 come what may.

But MPs fearful of the risks of a "no deal" departure sought to bind his hands, with a law demanding he delay Brexit if he failed to get an agreement approved by October 19.

The amendment passed Saturday is designed specifically to avoid this scenario.

MPs had feared they might pass the Brexit deal but then get bogged down with the laws needed to implement it, risking Britain accidentally crashing out of the EU at the end of the month.


More Related News

U.K.'s Liberal Democrats See Opportunity in Brexit Party Retreat
  • World
  • 2019-11-13 12:32:58Z

(Bloomberg) -- The U.K.'s Liberal Democrats are poised to cash in on Nigel Farage's decision to ally himself to Boris Johnson's Conservatives because it clarifies the choice for voters, according to party leader Jo Swinson.Farage's announcement that his Brexit Party won't run candidates in Tory-held seats means moderate supporters of the prime minister's party will turn to the pro-EU Liberal Democrats to block a chaotic split from the European Union, Swinson said."It makes it easier for us to appeal to those one-nation Conservative voters who will be appalled that Boris Johnson has cooked up this deal with Farage," Swinson said in an interview. "It makes it absolutely clear that the...

Johnson Deploys Troops as Floods Bring Backlash: U.K. Votes
Johnson Deploys Troops as Floods Bring Backlash: U.K. Votes
  • World
  • 2019-11-13 12:23:27Z

(Bloomberg) -- Boris Johnson deployed troops to flood-hit parts of northern England, as the threat of further rain underlined the risk of holding a general election in December. The prime minister has faced criticism from opposition parties over his response, and will seek to shift the focus back to campaigning with a speech in the key election battleground of the West Midlands.Key Developments:Johnson speaks at 4.30 p.m., warning that a government led by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn would offer "more political self-obsession and onanism"Corbyn said a Labour government would not allow a referendum on Scottish independence in its first termBrexit Party leader Nigel Farage speaks in Ilford...

The Latest: EU asks UK to name commissioner even temporarily
The Latest: EU asks UK to name commissioner even temporarily

EU Commission President-elect Ursula von der Leyen has given British Prime Minister Boris Johnson until the end of the week to come up with a candidate to fill the void at the EU executive, which must have a representative from each member nation. The EU Commission under von der Leyen is slated to start its work on Dec. 1.

Clinton criticizes UK government for blocking Russian report
Clinton criticizes UK government for blocking Russian report
  • US
  • 2019-11-12 09:59:18Z

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says she's "dumbfounded" the U.K. government has failed to release a report on Russian influence in British politics as the country prepares for national elections. Clinton told the BBC the public needs to know what is in the report by Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee.

Brexit Party won
Brexit Party won't challenge Conservatives in UK vote
  • US
  • 2019-11-11 12:51:22Z

In a major shift, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage says his party will not run against Conservative candidates in almost half of the U.K. seats available in Britain's Dec. 12 election. Farage said Monday that the party will not run in 317 Conservative-held seats so it does not split the pro-Brexit vote, an announcement that should boost the chances that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservatives win a majority. Farage has been under huge pressure from Brexit supporters not to run candidates in seats where there is a risk of splitting the Brexit vote.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: World